Sunday, December 5, 2010

The 2011 NDHSA Home School Bill

To summarize what the 2011 NDHSA Home School bill will do, it will (1) first and foremost make permanent the changes made during the 2009 session by removing the sunset clause, (2) remove parental qualifications, (3) remove monitoring, and (4) remove the requirement of establishing a multidisciplinary assessment team for children who score under the thirtieth percentile.

The Motivations and Purposes Behind the 2011 NDHSA Home School Bill
By Ken Knight rev b

As a member of the legislative team and the board of directors of the NDHSA, I am writing this article to give insight to motivations and purposes behind the board of director’s recommendations for the 2011 legislative session. As a member of the legislative team I desired a bill that called for the complete repeal of all North Dakota home school laws and recommended and influenced other legislative team members in that recommendation. The recommendation to repeal all homeschool laws was based upon my personal convictions and beliefs. But when this proposal was presented to the rest of the board, other factors had to be considered. The board represents the constituency of all members of the North Dakota Home School Association and, therefore, does not have the liberty to stand on their own individual principles without considering what the homeschoolers of North Dakota feel. We represent homeschoolers of many different convictions and our considerations and recommendations reflect that diversity.

Among the concerns expressed by homeschool families were losing their right to participate in public school activities (sports, music, chemistry, etc), losing the progress gained in the last legislative session if the sunset clause is not removed, and angering the DPI into imposing more controls on homeschoolers. In addition to listening to the concerns of homeschoolers, the board took into consideration advice from HSLDA lawyers, legislators, and people with extensive experience and knowledge in dealing with legislators and legislative matters.

Another factor considered was to the responsibility to follow a previous commitment of the board to incremental change, not an all-sweeping removal of home school legislation. Lastly, consideration was made to preclude presenting a divided front before the legislators. We don’t want homeschoolers testifying against the bill we present. We have a responsibility to present a united front from homeschoolers.

With these considerations in mind the board recommended that the legislative team pursue certain reforms. First and foremost, the team should endeavor to make permanent the change made during the 2009 session by removing the sunset clause. Second, they should work to remove the remaining wording concerning parental qualifications from section 15.1-23-03. This would remove all monitoring situations and would therefore automatically remove 15.1-23-06 and 07 on monitoring progress, reporting progress and compensation of monitors. This also requires the removal of 15.1-23-03.1 to continue to enable parents to home school without a high school diploma or GED without the monitoring provision. Third, remove the requirement of establishing a multidisciplinary assessment team for children who score under the thirtieth percentile (paragraphs two and three, under 15.1-23-11). This would automatically remove 15.1-23-12 concerning the use of a remediation plan to determine academic progress in a child who has previously scored below the thirtieth percentile.

The NDHSA Board voted unanimously to submit this bill on December 4, 2010. If this bill passes as written, it would move North Dakota from a red status to an orange status on Home School Legal Defense Association’s list.

This is not our first step, it is not our last step, it may not be a huge step, but I hope it is a step with which we all can live. Let us lock arms and hearts and take this step together.

Posted By: Andrew Bartlett, Webmaster

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We support this plan for the 2011 Legislative Session. We, too, would like to see sweeping changes made, but not at the cost of all of the progress which has been made thus far. It is vital that NDHSA members show up, in person or via phone calls and emails (preferably both!)during this session and do so as a united front. We hope to encourage our homeschool friends to take the time to get involved as much as they can. Let's not forget or take for granted all of the work and sacrifice the homeschool pioneers of North Dakota have accomplished.
Wendy and Patrick O'Neill family
Driscoll, ND

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